Search Results for: critical thinking skills

Giving Kids Time to Think with Felice Gerwitz

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

Giving Kids Time to Think | Interview with Felice Gerwitz on the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast NetworkLifeSkills101 Episode: Giving Kids Time to Think

Interview with Felice Gerwitz of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network

Celebrating 10 Years of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network. Happy Birthday, UHPN! Check out the giveaway!

In this episode of LifeSkills101, we dive into the importance of giving kids the time and space to think. We’ll join Felice Gerwitz, a prominent figure in the homeschooling community and the founder of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network. Felice shares her wealth of knowledge and experience. She shares how parents and educators can foster an environment that nurtures critical thinking, creativity, and problem-solving skills in children.

Giving Children the Room to Think for Themselves

The conversation begins with Felice emphasizing the significance of allowing children the room to think for themselves. She explains how this practice promotes independence and self-reliance, empowering kids to make sound decisions and explore their interests. Felice underscores that giving children time to think does not equate to neglecting them; instead, it’s about striking a balance between guidance and freedom.

Throughout the interview, Felice touches on the role of curiosity and how it fuels a child’s innate desire to learn. She discusses various strategies, including open-ended questions, discussions, and hands-on experiences, that parents and educators can employ to stimulate critical thinking and keep children engaged in their education.

Patience While Processing

The episode also delves into the concept of patience and its importance in nurturing a child’s thought process. Felice emphasizes the need for adults to resist the urge to provide quick answers. Instead, give children the space to formulate their own solutions and ideas.

Felice’s expertise in the field of homeschooling shines through as she shares valuable insights on tailoring educational experiences to suit a child’s unique learning style. She discusses how homeschooling allows for a more flexible and personalized approach, which is conducive to fostering independent thinking and lifelong learning.

Tune In to Learn: Giving Kids Time to Think

Tune in to this enlightening episode of LifeSkills101 as Felice Gerwitz shares her wisdom and practical advice for parents and educators seeking to empower the next generation with the life skills they need to succeed in an ever-changing world. Whether you’re a homeschooling parent or not, you’ll find valuable takeaways on how to give kids the time they need to think and thrive.

Enjoy Felice’s Most Popular Shows

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LifeSkills 101 is the official podcast of Blue Collar Homeschoolers. Visit us at our Facebook Group, Blue Collar Homeschoolers.

Choose Your Own Adventure Games in Your Homeschool

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

Choose Your Own Adventure GamesChoose Your Own Adventure Games: A Fun Way to Learn!

Homeschooling is a great way to provide a tailored education for your children, and incorporating board games and card games into your homeschool curriculum is an excellent choice.

Choose Your Own Adventure games, along with educational resources, can make learning a lot of fun, whether you’re teaching 1st graders or high school students. Let’s explore how these interactive games can engage students across various subjects and age groups.

Interactive Learning with Choose Your Own Adventure Games

Choose Your Own Adventure games are not just a fun way to pass the time; they can also serve as valuable educational tools. These games allow students to navigate their own adventures, making decisions that impact the outcome of the story. They’re great for independent work and encourage critical thinking and problem-solving skills.

Engaging Across Subject Areas

These games can cover a wide range of subject matter. There’s a game for every interest, from social studies to math skills, English language arts, and science topics like the rock cycle. Younger students in 3rd grade can use them to explore the early years of history or discover the United States, while older children might delve into concepts of world history or learn about Native Americans.

Easier Access to Online Games

In the digital age, having easier access to educational resources is essential. The latest version of Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, or Microsoft Edge allows you to access these online games. Websites like Google Drive or Google Slides provide access to a variety of educational activities and lesson sets for different age groups.

Comprehensive Homeschool Curriculum

By incorporating “Choose Your Own Adventure” games into your homeschool routine, you can create a comprehensive K-12 curriculum that covers multiple subjects. These games can supplement your lesson plans, and students can explore different time periods, practice math skills, and develop their social skills while having a lot of fun.

Interactive Learning for Middle School Students

Middle-grade books often fail to engage students, but Choose Your Own Adventure games bridge the gap between fun and education. These games can be a game-changer for middle school students who need a new way to learn about history, the Middle Ages, and more.

Resources at Your Fingertips

In addition to the games themselves, many educational publishers offer free resources that can enhance your homeschool curriculum. Recommended resource links can lead you to free lesson plans, picture books, and index cards to supplement your lessons.

Learning Beyond the Classroom

Homeschooling isn’t just about what happens within your home. It’s an opportunity to provide your child with a unique and enjoyable learning experience. “Choose Your Own Adventure” games can be a vital resource to make learning a lot of fun and fight against the summer slide.

Prepare for the Future

These games can also help your child develop important skills for the future, such as creative writing, problem-solving, and critical thinking. They can also engage in hands-on vocational education activities and learn about a variety of careers.

Incorporating Choose Your Own Adventure games into your homeschool routine can be a fun and effective way to enhance your child’s education. It offers a new way to explore subject areas and engage with various time periods and concepts while making learning a lot of fun.

So why not try adding this interactive element to your homeschool day and watch your child’s love for learning grow?

Resources to Get Started

Online Choose Your Own Adventure Games

How to Create Online Choose Your Own Adventure Games

Gameschooling In Your Homeschool – The Power Of Play

Choose Your Own Adventure Games from TPT

The Ultimate Guide to Gameschooling: Transform Your Homeschool Routine with Game-Based Learning


How to Teach Your Kindergartner to Read

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

Want to teach your kindergartner to read? Let’s look at fun ways you can introduce letters, letter sounds, picture books, first books, and a trip to the library to get them excited about reading.

Sponsored by Reading Eggs.

how to teach reading

Fun Ways to Teach Your Kindergartner to Read

One of the most rewarding experiences for parents is watching their child learn to read. Teaching your kindergartner to read can be an exciting journey filled with joy and bonding. To make this process enjoyable and effective, it’s essential to introduce letters, letter sounds, picture books, and first books in a way that sparks their curiosity and enthusiasm for reading. Let’s explore some fun and engaging ways to help your little one take their first steps into the world of reading.

1. Explore the World of Letters

To begin the reading journey, it’s important to introduce your kindergartner to the alphabet. Here are a few creative ways to do so:

  • a. Alphabet Art: Create an alphabet wall with colorful letters and pictures that correspond to each letter. Encourage your child to identify the letters and the associated sounds. This visual aid can serve as a great reference point.
  • b. Letter Sounds: Teach your child the sounds each letter makes through fun and interactive games. For example, you can play “I Spy” with objects that start with specific letters, like “I spy something that starts with the letter ‘B’ – it’s a banana!”
  • c. Begin Phonics: There are oodles of phonics programs available to homeschool families. We used Spell to Read and Write and had good success. Find one that works for your family and introduce the basic sounds as a game.

2. Dive into the World of Picture Books

Picture books are a wonderful way to engage your child’s imagination while introducing them to the joy of reading. Choose books with vivid illustrations and simple text that’s easy for your kindergartner to follow. Spend quality time reading together, making the experience enjoyable and interactive.

  • a. Ask Questions: While reading, ask questions about the story and the pictures. This encourages critical thinking and comprehension skills.
  • b. Act Out the Story: Let your child act out scenes from the story or even dress up as their favorite characters. This not only makes reading more fun but also helps with memory retention.
  • c. Grab Tracing Paper: Lay tracing paper over the pictures and let your child practice pencil control with different size media, such as crayings, pens, and colored pencils.

3. First Books for Beginners

Once your child becomes more comfortable with letters and picture books, it’s time to introduce them to the world of early reader books. These books are specifically designed for children who are learning to read. Choose books with simple, repetitive text and familiar words. A quick Amazon search or asking your librarian will get you in the right direction.

  • a. Read Together: Read these books together, and encourage your child to read aloud as well. Take turns reading pages or sentences to build their confidence.
  • b. Celebrate Progress: Celebrate small reading achievements with praise and rewards. Positive reinforcement can motivate your child to keep reading.

4. A Trip to the Library

A trip to the library can be an exciting adventure for your kindergartner. Most libraries have a dedicated section for children’s books, making it the perfect place to explore and choose books together.

  • a. Library Activities: Many libraries offer interactive programs like storytelling sessions, book clubs, and craft activities. Participating in these events can further fuel your child’s interest in reading.
  • b. Let Them Choose: Allow your child to select books that pique their interest. Whether it’s a book about dinosaurs, princesses, or outer space, the choice should be theirs. This personal connection to the material can be a powerful motivator.

Start Your Reading Adventure

Teaching your kindergartner to read is a magical journey that lays the foundation for a lifelong love of learning and literature. By introducing letters, letter sounds, picture books, and early reader books in a fun and engaging way, you can nurture their curiosity and excitement for reading. Remember to be patient, encouraging, and, most importantly, share in the joy of discovery as your child embarks on their reading adventure. Happy reading!

Check Out These Articles

Why Study Spanish, Interview with Suzanne Gose

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast: Why Study Spanish, Interview with Suzanne Gose.

Why Study Spanish, Interview with Suzanne Gose

Why Study Spanish, Interview with Suzanne Gose

Spanish is one of those subjects moms often don’t know where to begin when they’re homeschooling their high school teen. But do they really need to study Spanish? We got to chat with Suzanne Gose, the founder of Flip Flop Spanish and Spanish Geniuses, and Suzanne shares her homeschool journey and how she created a unique and engaging Spanish curriculum for homeschoolers. Let’s dive into the fascinating world of Flip Flop Spanish!

About Suzanne Gose

Suzanne, a former public school teacher, found herself searching for something more fulfilling after becoming a stay-at-home mom. Intrigued by the concept of homeschooling, she decided to offer Spanish tutoring and classes to homeschoolers. 

She was amazed by the level of engagement and interest from the teenagers she taught. They were attentive, caring, and genuinely interested in their own education. It was a revelation for her, and she knew she wanted her own children to have that kind of experience. So, she became a homeschooler herself! Little did she know that this decision would change her life and lead her to create Flip Flop Spanish. 

As Suzanne began creating her own curriculum for homeschoolers, she noticed a gap in the market for a flexible and interactive Spanish program. She started printing packets for parents who couldn’t attend her classes, and her husband encouraged her to get published. This led to the development of the Flip Flop Spanish workbook, which became the foundation of her curriculum.

Why Flip Flop Spanish?

The name Flip Flop Spanish perfectly captures the essence of Suzanne’s curriculum. The workbook was designed with pages that could be flipped upside down, allowing students to review what they had already learned. This unique approach not only made learning Spanish fun but also encouraged students to think in Spanish rather than translate word-for-word.

She later added flashcards, which became their flagship product. They were especially helpful for her second child, who had a visual processing disorder. The flashcards allowed him to learn Spanish without the need for reading, which was a game-changer for him.

Flip Flop Spanish is an incredible curriculum that caters to different learning styles and challenges.

Motivating Teenagers To Learn Spanish

Motivating teenagers to learn a second language can be a challenge. Suzanne believes that making language learning enjoyable and relevant is key to capturing their interest. Like Flip Flop Spanish, which incorporates game-like activities, speed rounds, charades, and even friendly competitions to make learning Spanish exciting for teens.  

There are a few ways to motivate teens when it comes to learning Spanish. Making it fun and game-like often does this well. Using flashcards for speed rounds, charades, or even competing against parents can make learning enjoyable. 

The Power of Being Bilingual

Learning Spanish goes beyond simply adding a language to a transcript. Suzanne emphasizes the practical benefits of being bilingual, particularly in the job market. Speaking Spanish can increase earning potential by $10,000 or more per year. It also enhances job security and opens doors to a wider range of career opportunities. 

Suzanne’s curriculum aims to equip teens with the language skills they need to thrive in a bilingual world. Learning Spanish not only enriches your life but also opens doors to new friendships and experiences.

Another remarkable benefit of learning a second language, according to Suzanne, is the positive impact it has on brain health. Learning Spanish exercises various areas of the brain, improving memory, critical thinking, and interpersonal communication skills. Bilingual individuals often experience better cognitive function and a reduced risk of cognitive decline later in life. 

Learning Spanish goes beyond just fulfilling a transcript requirement. It’s about making a positive impact on the world and embracing the opportunities that come with being bilingual.

Being bilingual in Spanish is like having a superpower. It sets you apart and allows you to connect with people in a unique way. – Suzanne Gose

Being bilingual in Spanish is like having a superpower. It sets you apart and allows you to connect with people in a unique way. - Suzanne Gose

Exploring the Flip Flop Spanish Curriculum

Flip Flop Spanish offers a comprehensive curriculum for the whole family, starting as young as three years old. The curriculum incorporates flashcards, games, and engaging activities to create an immersive learning experience. 

For high school students, Suzanne has developed a video course called Spanish Geniuses, which combines a textbook approach with interactive video lessons.

Getting Started with Flip Flop Spanish

If you’re new to Flip Flop Spanish, Suzanne recommends starting with the flashcards and the See It and Say It curriculum. This approach allows students to think in Spanish from the beginning, building a solid foundation for further learning. 

Because when you start with their flashcards, it uses pictures and simple sentences to train the brain to think in Spanish rather than relying on translation. This method is effective for young children as well as older teens. 

For high schoolers, the Spanish Geniuses video course provides a structured and engaging way to progress in their language studies. It includes a textbook and covers more advanced concepts while still maintaining a motivating and interactive approach. 

Flip Flop Spanish and Spanish Geniuses is designed to build a strong foundation in Spanish while keeping the learning process fun and manageable.

So if you have a teen who feels overwhelmed by traditional grammar-heavy textbooks, Suzanne’s approach of starting with flashcards and gradually introducing more complex concepts is a great way to build confidence and fluency.

Suzanne wants to make learning Spanish a positive and empowering experience for teens, setting them up for success in both their academic and personal lives.

Why Study Spanish with Suzanne Gose

Learning a second language is not only a valuable skill but also a gateway to new opportunities and personal growth. Flip Flop Spanish offers a refreshing and engaging approach to language learning, making it accessible and enjoyable for homeschoolers of all ages. 

Whether you’re a parent looking for a comprehensive Spanish curriculum or a teenager seeking to boost your language skills, Flip Flop Spanish can guide you on your language learning journey. Embrace the fun and benefits of learning Spanish with Flip Flop Spanish!

Connect with Flip Flop Spanish

To learn more about Flip Flop Spanish and connect with Suzanne Gos, visit the Flip Flop Spanish website at You can also find Flip Flop Spanish on Facebook and Instagram, where Suzanne shares updates, tips, and resources for language learners.

For more on world language learning, check out these posts and Homeschool Highschool Podcast episodes:

Thank you to Richie Soares with Homeschool & Humor for writing this blog post!


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Learning From Your Special Needs Child

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

Learning From Your Special Needs Child | I learned many lessons from homeschooling my special needs son. Some were easy, and others took a strong will to be open to God’s leading and my son’s! My Elementary Education diploma sported a degree and two certifications | #blog #homeschooling #TipsHomeschooling #BacktoSchoolChecklistforSpecialNeedsHomeschooling #SpecialNeedsHomeschooling #ChecklistforSpecialNeedsHomeschooling #LearningFromYourSpecialNeedsChild #LearningSpecialNeedsChild

In the realm of homeschooling, the most unexpected journeys often lead to the most profound lessons. Join me as I share a personal odyssey of discovery and growth while homeschooling my special needs son. From an initial reluctance toward science to a deep immersion in the natural world, our educational path took a captivating twist. Amidst the floodwaters of our Florida home’s backyard, a unique classroom emerged, fostering hands-on learning and life-changing insights. In this blog post, I unveil the transformative lessons I learned from my son, Neal, as we embarked on a science-filled adventure together, unearthing a newfound appreciation for learning and an unbreakable bond between a mother and her child.

Learning From Your Special Needs Child

I learned many lessons from homeschooling my special needs son. Some were easy, and others took a strong will to be open to God’s leading and my son’s! My Elementary Education diploma sported a degree and two certifications. However, even that could not make me like science. Part of my coursework was on teaching elementary science. I received an “A” in the course but proceeded to sell that book at the end of the semester as if it were tainted with gang-green. Nope! I was not going to teach science in any way, shape, or form. I preferred literature and writing to anything that required analytical thinking, was not straightforward, and made a mess.

Along Came a Transition

Then along came Neal, followed by our decision to homeschool. Our new home was nestled in 2.5 acres in the Florida six-mile cypress slough. (Translation: During the rainy season, this land tends to flood.) And during the rainy season, it was challenging to keep my kids indoors. Neal was six at the time, and his little sister, Christina four. They loved to head outdoors after a rainfall, which often lasted a scant hour but dumped so much water on our yard that it didn’t take many days for the lands to become soaked.

So, what does it mean to live in a flood zone? It means your yard is teaming with wildlife and is a virtual natural sciences lab. The day’s supplies consisted of knee-high boots, a red wagon, a bucket, and nets for scooping up critters. This was soon followed by not one, but two microscopes, one for inside and one that was in the garage. In that way, the children could get up close and personal with their living treasures. It was definitely caught and released. However, the lessons learned were invaluable.

The lessons were two-fold and identified in two separate compartments. One set of lessons was for me, and the other for the children.

Here is a list as follows:

Mom’s Lessons Learned

  1. The well-planned elementary curriculum consisting of textbooks was shelved
  2. Hands-on learning teaches skills that are foundational and memorable
  3. Character qualities were formed through experience, such as patience, fortitude, charity, and understanding
  4. Messes are okay if they instill a love of learning
  5. Safety is important, and learning that “red-on-yellow can kill a fellow” is mandatory in understanding which snakes to avoid
  6. An arsenal of pond life, bird life, and nature books is a must
  7. Many subjects could easily be tied into science
  8. Scientific discovery caused the children to delve deeper into complex thought processes.
  9. What if questions and the word “hypothesis” became part of their basic vocabulary
  10. Reading and comprehension skills soared because of the research required to identify much-needed information.

Kids Lessons Learned

  1. We can keep any animal for the day if we can prove that we won’t kill it
  2. If we keep our messes contained to the deck and garage, anything goes
  3. Mom will buy us anything that has to do with science
  4. Mom doesn’t know everything, so looking it up in a book was easier than asking her
  5. We love looking at the eyes of frogs, lizards, and insects if they hold still enough under a microscope
  6. If we do our seat work quickly, Mom lets us do science
  7. Leaving mom’s suitable measuring cups outside will result in punishment
  8. “Red on black” is not a friend of Jack! However, red-on-yellow won’t kill a fellow but should still be avoided.
  9. Baking soda and vinegar can be used as short-burst rocket fuel, but ask Mom first.
  10. Science is fun!

Ultimately, I learned using nature science was the key to unlocking my child’s critical thinking skills, and I took his learning to new heights. My well-planned curriculum went into the “circular file,” I joined my children as we headed out the door and into the world of nature studies and more! In fact, it was because of this wonderful experience that I wrote the first book I self-published: Teaching Science and Having Fun. I could relate my fears and dislike of anything scientific to those who mirrored my concerns and show that it is never too late for any mom to learn new things.

Meet Felice Gerwitz: A Devoted Homeschool Mom, Author, Publisher, and Podcast Host

A heartfelt enthusiast for both education and faith, Felice Gerwitz has embarked on an incredible journey as a homeschooling mom, guided by her unyielding devotion to the Lord. Alongside her incredible husband and five wonderful children, Felice’s life is a testament to the beauty of balancing family, faith, and personal aspirations.

In 1986, Felice embarked on her homeschooling adventure, a path that has been colored with both triumphs and challenges. Through the years, she has amassed a wealth of experience and wisdom that she eagerly shares with the world. As the founder of Media Angels, Inc., Felice has not only embraced her role as an educator but also stepped into the shoes of an author and publisher. Her creative ventures have not only enriched her own family’s learning journey but have also inspired countless others seeking alternative educational paths.

You can continue reading her story in her very personal story, One More Child, from Media Angels, Inc.

What to Include in your Middle and High School Language Arts Study

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

LCP Ep 5: What to Include in Your Middle and High School Language Arts Study

Join Katie with Literary Cafe Podcast to learn about what to include in your Language Arts study in your homeschool. #homeschool #homeschooling #languagearts #english #middleschool #highschool

What do you need to include during the middle school years in Language Arts to make sure your learner is ready to tackle high school work? What kind of Language Arts and English program would colleges be looking for and what can count as credit for the high school transcript?

Visit Katie’s website for more fun ideas and tips to use in your homeschool at Katie’s Homeschool Cottage  or her Facebook Group.

Join Katie Glennon as she discusses what skills and concepts you should include in your Language Arts study during the middle and high school years. Katie shares an outline with some specific areas to make sure you include them in your Language Arts study during these critical years. She will suggest and discuss curriculum resources she found useful in her homeschool when her sons were in middle and high school that work efficiently and effectively to meet English requirements and make sure your learner is prepared for the next step – moving from middle into high school or high school into college.

The Areas of Language Arts you should include in the Middle and High School Years

What-to-Include-in-your-Middle and High School Homeschool-Language-Arts-Study pdf (Printable for you to download)

Show Notes

The Areas of Language Arts you should include in the Middle and High School Years

For literature during these years, I recommend a mix of short stories, poetry, essays (non-fiction), drama, and novels. These can be found either separately or in the form of a literary anthology and additional novels to read alongside the anthology.

Along with the novels, you will want to use some kind of novel study guides (that will also assist you with suggested vocabulary words and various questions).

Suggested Homeschool Literary Resources to Assist you in your Literature Study –

Total Language Plus (novel study guide)
Progeny Press (novel study guide)
Mosdos Press Literature Anthologies

Skills and Concepts for Literature Study

There are a number of skills and concepts you will want to include in your literary study.

These skills include –

• Vocabulary – I recommend using words from your reading for your vocabulary words because it saves you time and money from using a separate vocabulary program or curriculum. Most of all, in my experience it is more effective. The words are in context of what your learner is reading and will be understood and remembered more effectively because it is part of a story they will remember. It also gives your learner the practice in figuring out what words mean using their context within a sentence.

• Comprehension and Higher Order Thinking Skill Practice

Recalling details
Comprehending and understanding what they read (being able to identify the “main idea” or “theme” of the story)
Application skills – using what they have learned from the reading to problem solve
Analysis – drawing conclusions, comparing this written work to another from the same author or another author, or comparing what they have read to a personal experience.
Evaluation – critiquing the writing, selecting an issue from the writing and debating it.
Synthesis – taking a point, idea, theme, character from your reading and creating something new from that piece.
Elements of a story – plot, conflict, setting, characters, point of view, mood, tone
Literary devices and writing techniques such as similes, metaphors, imagery, personification, onomatopoeia, hyperbole, alliteration.

• Study different Genres – forms of writing and rhetoric – speeches, drama, essays, short stories, poetry, non-fiction, and novels.

• Study different literary time periods and areas around the world.

American Literature – Native American, Pre-colonial/Puritanism, Colonial, Revolutionary (age of Enlightenment/Reason), Romanticism (includes American Gothic, Transcendentalism), Realism/Naturalism/Regionalism, Modernism, Contemporary

British – (some crossover from American) Old English/Anglo-Saxon, Middle English/Medieval, Renaissance, Puritanism, Enlightenment, Romantic (Regency), Victorian, Modern

World Literature – (Western, Eastern, Other) Can focus primarily on Ancient works from Greek Philosophers or Christian authors, or a broad cross-section of countries, authors, and time periods from around the world.

Semester Specialty Classes – Poetry, Shakespeare, Drama, Journalism, Creative Writing, Research and Composition, specific types of literature or specific authors or parts of the world.

• Worldview – Christian Worldview expressed by author and content or Secular/Humanist view.

• Author Biography and Time Period in which he/she lived or wrote about.
Literature can be a reflection of cultural, religious, societal, and historical views, beliefs, and events written from the author’s point of view or the content itself.

Literature can also be an influencer of cultural, religious, and societal beliefs from the time period and society in which it is written or the author’s point of view and intent. It can influence thinking and historical events.

Writing and Composition

I recommend using your literature study as the jumping off point for essay writing and composition. However, before you can begin with that practice, your middle schooler and early high school student has to have some basic foundation in writing skills.

Middle schoolers should master the proper format of a paragraph –

A Hook to capture the reader’s interest and a Topic Sentence
At least 3 detailed supporting sentences that gives more information directly related to the topic sentence.
A concluding sentence that brings that paragraph to a close.

By the time learners start their first year in high school, they should be working on mastering the proper 5 Paragraph Essay (in this case an informative essay).

I recommend having your learner pick a topic they could talk to you about off the top of his/her head for 15 minutes without really having to think much about it. This topic lends itself to writing this kind of essay and the learner can concentrate on the format of the paper instead of what to write.

Proper 5 Paragraph (Informative) Essay
A Hook and topic (thesis) sentence with an introductory paragraph that include mentioned the three subtopics (or details about the main topic) that you will be discussing in the paper.
3 Body – detailed, supporting paragraphs in the order in which they were mentioned in the introductory paragraph. – Include transition words and sentence variation.
Concluding paragraph which includes a rewording of the topic sentence with a mention of the 3 subtopics and a Clincher sentence (could be a big statement, last thought, question, or a call to action).

Then you are ready to use your literary pieces as a basis of other essays –
Persuasive essay
Analytical essay
Research (and/or MLA, APA, Chicago format) essay
Persuasive essay with citations
Compare and Contrast essay itself to college application essays)
Literary Criticism


Here is a bundle of notebooking pages that we used for our written narration that I mentioned in the podcast to develop our writing skills before we wrote formal essays of different forms. There is a set for different subject areas that we used to either make our own books or put into a 3-ring binder to put together a notebook of our writing and what we learned in that subject that year.

Make Your Own ABC Book Notebooking Pages Bundle Set


Use your learner’s writing to assess what skills they need to review and practice each week.

Other review and practice for grammar skills can be found with these resources –

Rod and Staff – (books go up to 8th grade, but the concepts and skills are up through high school work.) These books use diagramming and are very well explained. If you have a learner that loves following and making lists of steps and learns best this way, you might want to try diagramming. However, if it is frustrating or challenging for you or your learner to understand the “diagramming process”, it may not be worth using that method to learn the grammatical concepts.

If you have a hands-on learner, you may want to check out Winston Grammar. This program uses a hands-on approach and labels parts of speech and how the words are used in a sentence.

Another program I recommend is the Easy Grammar series. The Easy Grammar books have the text and instruction to learn and practice new skills and the Daily Grams are workbooks that have a daily review with 5 different kinds of grammar concepts with one sample of each per day for a total of 5 quick review samples to practice. Loved this! As your child moves into high school, you may want to use the Ultimate Series which has the text and instruction and the practice in each. There are placement tests on the website to assist you.

Spelling in Language Arts Study

Spelling for middle school can still be in a phonics-based spelling book as recommended in my Language Arts for Elementary Ages podcast such as Building Spelling Skills by Christian Liberty Press .

You can also look at your learner’s writing and include words they misspell in your weekly spelling list.

If you have a learner who is ready to tackle more complex words, I recommend Spelling Power, an inclusive book that you will be able to use for years through high school and multiple learners. It supplies word lists and ways to study and learn the words each week.

Be sure to comment in the Comments box any ideas you’d like to share that your family has used in your Language Arts or any of these ideas from this podcast you found helpful! I would love to hear from you! Thanks for visiting! Come back and visit the Literary Cafe Podcast for August’s topic when we discuss how to study grammar in your homeschool!

Make sure you subscribe to the Literary Cafe Podcast at iTunes so you don’t miss an episode or by clicking on the Android or RSS feed buttons below the recording on this page!

Join Katie with Literary Cafe Podcast to learn about what to include in your Language Arts study in your homeschool. #homeschool #homeschooling #languagearts #english #middleschool #highschool



Creating Your Own Unit Study: A Homeschooler’s Guide to Personalized Learning

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

creating unit study
Homeschooling offers a unique opportunity for parents to tailor their child’s education to suit their individual needs and interests. One effective approach to achieve this is through unit studies. A unit study is an in-depth exploration of a particular topic, encompassing various subjects like history, science, literature, and art. By designing your own unit study, you can foster a love for learning, encourage critical thinking, and create a more engaging educational experience for your homeschooled child. In this blog post, we’ll explore the step-by-step process of creating your own unit study.

1. Identify Your Child’s Interests:

The key to a successful unit study is to select a topic that sparks your child’s curiosity and passion.

Take the time to discuss their interests and listen to what excites them. It could be dinosaurs, space exploration, ancient civilizations, or even a favorite book series. For teens, even an AI unit study theme!

By choosing a theme that captivates your child, you lay the foundation for an enthusiastic and motivated learner.

2. Define Learning Objectives:

Once you’ve settled on a topic, outline the learning objectives you want to achieve through the unit study. Consider the core subjects you wish to incorporate and set specific goals for each subject.

For instance, if your chosen theme is “Oceans,” your learning objectives might include understanding marine ecosystems, exploring famous ocean expeditions in history, studying ocean currents in science, and creating ocean-inspired art projects.

3. Gather Resources:

Now it’s time to gather resources to support your unit study. Utilize books, documentaries, websites, educational apps, and even field trips to provide a well-rounded learning experience.

Libraries, online databases, and educational platforms are excellent sources for finding relevant and age-appropriate materials. Don’t forget to involve your child in the research process to encourage their independence and curiosity.

4. Create a Study Plan:

Organize the unit study by creating a study plan. Break the theme into smaller subtopics or units, and allocate time for each one. Determine how much time you’ll dedicate to the unit study each day or week and create a flexible schedule that accommodates your child’s learning pace and interests.

5. Integrate Subjects:

The beauty of a unit study lies in its ability to incorporate multiple subjects seamlessly. Look for opportunities to connect different disciplines within the chosen theme. For example, if the unit study revolves around “Inventors and Inventions,” you can explore the history of inventions, the science behind them, the art of innovation, and even the societal impact.

6. Hands-On Activities:

Enhance the learning experience with hands-on activities that bring the subject to life. Conduct science experiments, embark on nature walks, cook traditional meals from different cultures, or engage in artistic projects related to the theme. These activities not only reinforce learning but also make the unit study more enjoyable and memorable.

7. Encourage Independent Research:

Encourage your child to pursue independent research on specific aspects of the unit study that interest them the most.

Provide guidance and resources, but let them take the lead in exploring their curiosity. This autonomy fosters a sense of ownership over their learning and nurtures critical thinking skills.

Creating Your Own Study

Creating your own unit study for your homeschooled child is a rewarding way to personalize their education while fostering a lifelong love for learning.

By identifying their interests, defining clear learning objectives, gathering resources, integrating subjects, and incorporating hands-on activities, you can create a comprehensive and engaging learning experience. Remember that flexibility is key, allowing your child to explore and delve deeper into areas that intrigue them the most. Embrace the journey of learning together, and watch as your child’s passion for knowledge blooms in the comfort of your homeschool environment. Happy homeschooling!

Check Out These Podcasts from Vintage Homeschool Moms, Felice Gerwitz for more Unit Study inspiration …

And for a Done-For-You Unit Study, check out this resource from Media Angels!

Embracing Math: Why Homeschoolers Shouldn’t Shy Away from Numbers

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

Embracing Math | Homeschooling parents should embrace math

When it comes to homeschooling, parents have the unique opportunity to tailor their children’s education to their individual needs and interests, including the opportunity to embrace math.

While some subjects may come naturally and spark excitement, others can be met with resistance, and math often falls into the latter category for many homeschooling parents.

However, despite personal preferences or challenges, it is crucial for homeschoolers to embrace math and recognize its significance in their children’s educational journey.

In this blog post, we will explore why homeschoolers should not shy away from math, even if it isn’t their favorite subject.

1. Building Foundational Skills:

Mathematics provides a foundation for logical thinking, problem-solving, and analytical reasoning. These skills are not only essential for various academic disciplines but also for real-life situations. Embracing math from an early age enables homeschoolers to develop strong foundational skills that will benefit them throughout their lives, both academically and professionally.

2. Fostering Critical Thinking:

Mathematics is not merely about numbers and calculations; it is about developing critical thinking skills. Homeschoolers who engage with math learn to analyze problems, break them down into manageable steps, and think creatively to find solutions. These problem-solving skills are invaluable in every aspect of life, from managing finances to making informed decisions.

3. Enhancing Everyday Life:

Mathematics is deeply intertwined with our everyday lives, even if we don’t always notice it. From calculating expenses, understanding measurements, and interpreting statistics to making informed decisions about time management and resource allocation, math is a fundamental skill that helps us navigate the complexities of the modern world. By embracing math, homeschoolers will gain a deeper understanding of the world around them and be better equipped to make informed choices.

4. Preparing for Higher Education and Careers:

Math plays a significant role in numerous academic disciplines, including science, technology, engineering, and even fields such as business and economics. By embracing math, homeschoolers set themselves up for success in higher education and future careers. Having a solid mathematical foundation opens doors to various fields of study and increases opportunities for homeschoolers in a rapidly evolving job market.

5. Overcoming Challenges:

It is not uncommon for parents to feel less confident in teaching math compared to other subjects. However, it is crucial to recognize that struggling with a subject does not mean homeschoolers should avoid it altogether. Embracing math presents an opportunity for growth, both for the student and the parent. It encourages homeschooling parents to step outside their comfort zones, seek help when needed, and adopt creative teaching strategies that cater to their child’s learning style.

Embrace Math, Homeschool Mama

As homeschoolers, it is vital to provide our children with a well-rounded education that includes all core subjects, even if some of them are not our personal favorites. Embracing math is crucial for the holistic development of homeschoolers, as it builds foundational skills, fosters critical thinking, enhances everyday life, and prepares them for higher education and future careers. By overcoming personal challenges and embracing math, homeschooling parents empower their children to thrive academically and succeed in the ever-changing world. So, let’s encourage our homeschoolers to embrace math and embark on an exciting journey of discovery and growth.

This blog post is thanks to our sponsor, CTC Math. Homeschoolers can save 1/2 off! Learn more by clicking the image below.


The Future of Work | Replay

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

Our people must learn to devote themselves to doing what is good, in order that they may provide for daily necessities and not live unproductive lives. Titus 3:14The Future of Work

What about the future of work? Our people must learn to devote themselves to doing what is good, in order that they may provide for daily necessities and not live unproductive lives. Titus 3:14

Career Stages

  • High school
  • Launching as an Adult can include college
  • Early Career
  • Late Career
  • Mid-Career
  • Retirement

What Economies will Play a Role in the Future?

  • Big Tech Economy
  • Precision Economy
  • Exodus Economy
  • Empath Economy
  • Gig Economy


Future Workers will need Technical Skills as well as Soft Skills, particularly Creativity, Critical Thinking, Collaboration and Communication Skills. The good news is that a solid high school course of study will lay a solid foundation for these type of skills. Additional, future workers will need the ability to upskill and re-skill, as well as have a zeal for life long learning.

What is the best way to navigate the future? As always, I recommend start with the end in mind and working backwards. What kind of lifestyle does your student want to have, where do they want to live, what work do they believe in and want to invest in doing?

Assess your student, your current resources and your location, as all of these offer various challenges and opportunities. And don’t forget that you are one of your student’s best resources. What are your areas of interests and trained vocation? Your kids have a jump start on whatever it is you share with them, because of what you already know.

Craft a clear plan that includes

True North Homeschool Academy classes that will set your student up for future success

Fall Class True North Homeschool Academy


  • Life Skills
  • 101 Personal Finance
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Photography & Digital Tech
  • Video Editing
  • Photoshop
  • E-books
  • Survive Homeschooling High School
  • Young Professionals Series
  • Academic Advising & Testing
  • FB lives and Info Meetings

We love coming alongside fellow homeschoolers to ensure your academic and future success at True North Homeschool Academy! Check out our regular Podcasts and Blog posts and more! Let us know how we can come alongside of you!


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We love coming alongside fellow homeschoolers to offer encouragement and support as they head True North! Let us know how we can support YOU!

Can Homeschooling Be Fun and Educational With Games?

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

Games that Teach

Homeschool Games that Teach by Felice Gerwitz

Do you have a homeschooler who loves to have fun and learn at the same time? You’re in luck! With an array of entertaining and educational games for your homeschool, you can find something for every learning level and interest.

From the classics like Scrabble and Monopoly to the latest apps and online learning tools, these games provide an engaging and rewarding experience for you and your young learners. In this article, we’ll show you how games can provide an interactive way to teach important life skills, such as critical thinking, problem-solving, and collaboration. You’ll also learn about the best games for homeschoolers and how you can use them to build a fun learning environment in your home. So, get ready to have some fun and unleash your kid’s potential with games that teach and bring fun into your homeschool!

By Felice Gerwitz

My children tease me by saying “You can take a teacher out of the classroom, but you can’t take the teacher out of my Mom!” And they are correct…I find “education” everywhere. A simple trip to the supermarket can have us looking for foods that have a space theme… “Milky Way” bars, “Star” shaped cereal, “Crater” cheese (Swiss), and other silly as well as practical ways to refresh their memory of a topic we study. You can use grocery store trips in any number of ways.

Fun Ways to Incorporate Games That Teach

Another fun (or not so fun), depending on your perspective, is to hand your child a calculator and have them tally your groceries and see how close they come to the check-out price. Difficult to do if you are using coupons or there are discounts, such as buy one get one free. You can allow for some margin of error, and no matter what the outcome, praise is always important.

Mapping a grocery store is always fun as well. Tell the children ahead of time you are going to ask them to draw a map of the grocery store when you get home. You can have them bring paper and a pencil if you desire. Make sure they note the order of the isles and have them jot down categories instead of specifics. Teaching the children to use order, larger to smaller, and categorize are all good skills. I know it will take longer to get through the store. This might be good exercise for a time when you have light shopping.

Treat and Rewards

Don’t forget the treats. I can’t tell you how far we’ve made a bag of candy M&M’s go! You can use them for counting; you can use them for rewards; you can use them to sort, etc. They are by far a favorite of the Gerwitz household, with or without the academic incentives! 

Games that Teach On the Go

Riding in the car? How about naming every noun you see? Or, you can ask little ones to count all of the blue cars or all of the trucks you see on the road. Live out in the country? No problem; after teaching the children about specific types of trees, you can ask them to find these trees on your journey. Or use birds, animals, fence posts, whatever you find that there are a lot of. 

How about taking turns naming store names and signs in alphabetical order? We call it the ABC game. My all-time is finding the state license plates. Here in Florida, the winter months bring the flurry of winter visitors from up North with license plates from all over. And surprisingly, many of our visitors drive. Would you believe we have seen license plates from Alaska?  So we keep a photocopy of a map outline of all 50 states, and the children place marks on the states viewed and tally them once a month. 

Quick Games Do Teach

These games do not take long to prepare and can transform a day of the same old thing into a fun time for all. I am compiling a book of fun activities our family play; if you have some you’d like to share, email me anytime! I’ve got to run. My kids want to play “big-step-little-step.”  

Felice Gerwitz is a wife and mother and the owner of Media Angels Publishing and the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

Visit her online at 

Check out these Podcasts on Games That Teach

Digital Games That Teach Problem-Solving

Games That Teach, part 1

Games That Teach, part 2




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